040 Keys (Installment #3): Transition

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Picture: Pragmatists love charts. Charts that illustrate effects. So here's a chart showing how much government school sucks. It's also pretty representative of all 'services' provided at gunpoint, in terms of cost verses quality.

Imagine a door to complete freedom, abounding opportunity and greater personal satisfaction... Public education is the lock. This is the third in a series of non-sequential shows about finding keys.

The END of Public Education?

END: It's over, irrelevant, useless, needs to be done away with. Considering the time we're living in, this is more true than ever.

Critical Thinking Questions:
-Why do people accept government education?
-Why do people need tangible alternatives?

Bumper Music:
"The Lonely Bull"
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

Topic:
Kate Richards from The Scholars' Academy joins me to discuss the possibility of non-government solutions and alternatives to public education. Although we are both supporters of unschooling, we discuss the importance of recognizing the harsh reality of the current situation: government school today holds over 90% of the young people in this country and eats up 600 billion dollars a year. Therefore, it is important to contemplate options and ideas for the transition from where we are to where we would like to be.

Kate explains that people are more willing to seriously consider alternatives if they can be presented with something tangible, already in operation. In our arguments for the abolition of public education, we often face two significant challenges:

1. Well-grained societal illusions about the benevolence or the necessity of government school
2. The apparent lack of alternatives, or 'abstract' explanations of other ways young people can learn

Also discussed:
-Sudbury Schools
-Pedagogical Approaches
-Making Changes in Public School?

NOTE: Because I was recently very critical of misleading global warming charts, I should point out that the one shown above also has a y-axis that does not start at zero, which creates a steeper looking line for cost. So good thing I have principles to fall back on if my charts don't work.

Look Closer:
The Scholars' Academy
www.scholarsacademynh.org/

The Alliance For the Separation of School and State
www.schoolandstate.org

"School Is Expensive but..."
http://www.schoolandstate.org/Knowledge/Drennan/SchoolIsExpensiveBut.htm

The Greatest Mistake in American History: Letting Government Educate Our Children, by Harry Browne
http://fee.org/nff/the-greatest-mistake-in-american-history-letting-government-educate-our-children/

Check Also

[PODCAST] #504: Unenclosed Children and Self-Directed Learning – With Kerry McDonald

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadKerry McDonald holds an M.Ed. from Harvard University, where ...

One comment

  1. Comparing the government to a gangster mob is nothing new, but what Brett addresses here is how many people would it take to disempower the gangster mob. What is pointed out here is the the schooling system is actually worse than the gangsters because in the case with the schooling system, a justification would be created to actually argue that the other “shop owners” would have to pay more for the lack of involvement from the “shop owners” who resist them.

    The Young Turks’s show was very interesting, Brett trolls a little here and rips the article up, showing the bias in the journalism produced but just pure propaganda. The “X+Y=Z” is pretty hilarious, as it’s being used as a mark of being knowledgable. Cenk Kadir Uygur starts to comment on parents rules not forcing their children to learn will not allow them to learn algebra, just to play devils advocate here, Cenk is totally right, children woundn’t learn algebra by themselves as it’s being produced and presented by the schools. If Cenk took a look at the textbooks provided by the schools and was forced to start reading them I doubt he would find it interesting to read, so he is right, children or people for that matter would not learn algebra by themselves if they had to, but that’s not what un-schooling is about, he totally missed the point. I doubt Cenk even knows why algebra even was formed as a subject in the first place. If a person took a moment just to open a elementary algebra textbook they would find the first chapters, and most of the rest, to be filled with definitions of types of numbers, you could read through the entire textbook and walk away with little to none use in practical terms. The entire subject lacks context, how the idea of algebra even started is lost in translation. The natural process to learn about algebra comes from studying geometry, which child doesn’t like to scribble, by using protractors and compasses the ideas of algebra starts to become more visual but this is not the way it’s taught at school, instead the students are forced to absorb masses amounts of information that has no practical value until they get to study geometry and the expression of projecting 3d dimensions onto a 2d plane. So Cenk is correct to say that children won’t learn algebra buy themselves, no one in their right mind will want to learn the subject the way it’s presented.

    ‘…this is completely different from homeschooling, ok, this in not providing any direction for your children whatsoever. Thinking that they will out of their own natural curiosity seek knowledge. It doesn’t work that way…’. Total fallacy, that children down’t learn out of their own innate curiosity, Anahit Misak Kaspatian says it ‘doesn’t work that way’. I’m not sure what “way” she is referring to, but the reality is that the first people to ever learn and conceptualize a subject never did it because someone forced them to learn it, they did it out of curiosity. Curiosity is the way people have discovered new learning subjects, it’s the only way cavemen started to learn about fire, because they were curious about it and how they could use it. When humans have problems they look for solutions, they dream of them they enact them they conceptualize them, that all comes from an innate curiosity in every human. What Anahit is missing here is that it’s not that the children don’t what to learn or that they are closed to it, because they want to watch the Power Rangers on TV, it’s because their environment and parents are not providing them with the right challenges and choices they have available in an environment which does create innate curiosity.

    The conversation turns to Kate Hansen-Roxas, what a relief. Kate’s motivation speaks mountains to the innate curiosity in humans seeking solutions to problems, making it a perfect example as argument against The Young Turks fallacies. Brett brings up the topic of the Sudbury School, and the movie Schooled: The Price of College Sports. Brett brings up the challenge of creating a true liberal organization in contrast to a democratic organization. That using a democratic model in running the school gives the notion that organizations should be run in such a way. It’s a good point, how can an organization such as a school be arranged that is true to a liberal nonviolent principle. This is similar to the argument Brett had with his previous podcast discussing what is a good age to let children become totally self driven without intervention.

    I believe that a school that is run true to the liberal nonviolent principle is possible. Brett argues that the building plays a role in how the children are influenced, it is possible that the building could be a major contributor to how the children are dealt with but as Kate points out this does not have to be a major contributing factor in influencing the children’s experience. I do agree with this, it’s just a building. I believe that the teachers could be formed in such a way that they are not referenced as a collective but rather as individuals to the children, that the children would have access to all the teachers and that a teacher is not assigned to a single subject alone, strong attention to the relationships they have with the students opposed to being “masters” of a field. If the children were presented with challenges that they would need to resolve through their own means and have access to the opinions of the teachers, they would be able to decide on their own accord in which way they wished to resolve the challenge. The solutions to the challenges could then be presented by the children providing a project form documentation of their process in discovering the solutions in a private manner to the teachers. The challenges should be graded in such a way that it is relevant to the child yet still keeping the need for child to demonstrate specific skills developed in the process of discovering the solution. The issue of intervention can be diminished starting with a very restrictive environment ensuring a high level of safety and progressively the restrictions could be deminished as the child demonstrated the skills to protect themselves, by altering their environment, that presented new “risks”. In essence the school room could be transformed in to new environments in aiding the development of the child. Ultimately the child would progress from a classroom to outside the classroom into an external environment. In contrast, the current school environment maintains a high restriction on the students throughout their schooling careers never allowing them to have the option to make decisions for themselves.

    Love the idea of autodidactiicism being the basis for a school. Brett uses the word “institution”, which I think is the issue here, an institution produces an environment which forces the participants to accept it’s doctrine being the exact opposite of what I believe would be a liberal principle. Brett might be identifying the building as an extension by inheritance of an organization being based on institutionalisation. Which to a large extent is the basis of most buildings, so I see were Brett is going with being opposed to buildings, but a building can be based on an entirely different principle such as autodidactiicism.

    Community as a threat to Liberalism, has been mentioned before, I never understood why this would be an issue. I believe community is a good thing, specially as Kate refers to it as a family orientated community. Does a community imply that Liberty is threatened? If a group of people decide to combine their efforts to find a solution to an issue together, how does this threaten the principle of Liberty? I can’t help think that if the community becomes “unchecked” that the “collateral damage” being that people’s choice to be part of the community could pose a threat to Liberalism would become an issue. At the same time if certain measures were understood on by the community to reevaluate the individuals choice in a voluntary community that this would be easy enough to mitigate the loss of individual’s choice in participation, a measure like this would also have to include the Will of individuals who want to leave at any time should also be respected.

    In the current Canadian citizenship program people posses the ability to choose to leave the participation of the citizenship, but people are reluctant to do so because they have no means to alternative options that the government currently provides. This in mostly due to the institution of school and many other aspects, but there are those who have done so. The major challenge is being separate and sovereign on ones own reliance. It’s the same issue with any community, if participants decide to leave the community they also decide to do things by themselves. If a person could separate form the community but still seek refuge in the community without commitment to the community a potential for the community would exist that would be more true to the principle of Liberalism. This would only be possible if the community was willing to assist in providing refuge to an outsider without the need to impose an established agreement. Where do you draw the line? It’s not possible to have a community without a community understanding some type of agreement between the participants.

    The beautiful thing about a community is that there is no need for a large group to exist to create it. A community already exists in the foundation of structure of the Family. Family is the most basic form of community that exists, two people who commit to each other for an extensive time inherently form a community. The challenge comes when people are not willing to move into a “marriage”, I use the word here as an expression of team participants that attempt to uplift each other, due to the fear of giving up their liberty. This is a false assumption as a person’s liberty can still be reserved between two people based on some basic stated expectations of responsibility. Without going further into this, the balance between the two parties can be found in being aware of the polarities of energies that exist in the different parties and how they can be supported by one another strengths against their weaknesses.

    The “grand plan”, a discussion takes place of implementation of a school system that will transcend time. I think Brett is right here, it’s insane to think that any plan can be implemented that will be function for all students indefinitely. Do we really need to have a “grand plan”? I would argue that the plan already exists, it’s always been available and accessible. Human curiosity is innately part of humanity, it’s something that exists on it’s own, no planning is necessary on a grand scale. The only thing that could play a part in cultivating the environment for blooming of creativity and curiosity could be taught through basic principles of what curiosity is and how to unleash it. Keeping the idea of empowering individuals by introducing them to their own curiosity allows the process of imposing a overruling structure to be avoided. Brett started this podcast asking the question as to how many students would it take to exit the schooling system for it to change. I ask the question as to how many parents will it take to rediscover their curiosity and allow their children to express their curiosity to collapse the system? Naturally parents will take their children out of school once they discover this ability of curiosity, nothing more needs to be done.

    On all practical levels a medium would be needed that speeds up the process, currently Brett’s podcast and other contributors works seem to be dissolved among added material, could it be possible to pull out the core process for creating a focus on the specific principles that help humans to access their own ability. In many cases the textbooks seems to prevent people from going through their own self discoveries, possibly on an intentional level. The platonic schools in Greece had the ability to do just this, taking pupils through a process of dialectics of philosophy and extending this through the Trivium, why reinvent the wheel.

    Just listening to the conversation continue between Brett and Kate, listening to all the issues in the school system brought a thought to mind. I have no way of knowing but reflecting on this Brett’s older podcasts and listening to this I can’t help to wonder the influence that the current system of time has, namely the Gregorian Calendar. Yes, you might be saying the calendar? At the moment the structor of all schools or institutions follow the weekend and weekday model. Inherently this timing schedule contributes to creating a weekend like worrier mindset, living for the weekend if you will. It may be possible to reevaluate this schedule to break away from this contribution to creating a “weekend worrier”. Just an idea to ponder that by redefining the system of time we redefine the process of allowing people to feed their free time for innate curiosity.

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